Now Hospital open their account to make it even tighter in the top flight

Streat & Westmeston (batting) v Preston Nomads III. Ravi Kumar batting
Streat & Westmeston (batting) v Preston Nomads III. Ravi Kumar batting

The exceptional nine-wicket haul by Burgess Hill 3rd team bowler Stephen Cromb was the headline act (see back page) but there were plenty of other fine performances as the weather played ball on Bank Holiday Saturday.

Early signs that Division 1 is going to be the tightest battle for some time were underlined, with even bottom club St Francis opening their account after starting the day well adrift.

They squeezed home by two wickets at home to Palmers after Cedic Cooray took 7-46 to bowl out the visitors for 163. Arshad Raja (45) led the challenge although Will Dawes (5-33) almost ensured it was enough for Palmers.

Edenbridge are the new leaders as Daniel Ott (63) steered them to an 18-run home win against Coleman’s Hatch.

Steve Ward (5-27) helped send Balcombe crashing to 76 all out as Crawley Down went second, while champions Ashdown Forest were impressive nine-wicket winners at home to Poynings, who started the day on top. Leif Powis (100 ret) and Josh Coburn (86no and 3-69) made light of a target of 208-8.

in the other top division clash, hosts Streat piled up 251-6 thanks to Ian Harvey (95no) and Neil Green (78) but Preston Nomads denied them at 179-8 as Luke Appleton struck 79.

Bolney stayed top of Division 2, which produced three centuries. One of them came from Smallfield’s Dave Stevens (107) against Bolney and both he and team-mate Luke Blackburn (6-32) proved unlucky losers. A top scoring haul of 48 extras, including 25 wides, enabled Bolney to get home by one wicket chasing a total of 194-8. Jack Collins took 6-53 for Bolney.

The other tons in this division came from Dormansland’s Michael Watson (100no v Balcombe II) and Staplefields Naveed Ur REhman (100no v Hurstpierpoint).

Cromb’s bowling lit up Division 3, where the top knock was Stewart Cook’s 64 for Copthorne, while in Division 5 there was an outstanding innings of 153 not out by Jordan Holmes of Forest Row 3rds.

Best of the bowling were the five-wicket hauls of Chris Paternoster (5-18 for Ardingly II) and Ron Clarke t(5-42 for Balcombe III).

Clarke’s efforts helped Barcombe open up a 15-point lead at the top of Division 5, while setting the pace in Division 4 are Ditchling 3rds, with four wins out of four. Ditchling’s latest win came as Russell Church and Lee Reeves-Perrin took four wickets apiece to set up a four-wicket home victory over Lingfield 3rds.